When we decided to go to CES this year it, was for 2 reasons. One, we love the future and companies that push it, and two, these things called " gadgets " are what we use to produce the work we love doing. CES is a hyper fusion of consumer electronics like TV's, car audio, and iPhone cases mixed with a massive number of professional camera companies like Canon, Sony, and Nikon, to name a few. The Fiction crew went to the conference, so we only thought it fitting to give you our best, worst, and most fun parts of what some people call CES, but what we call "Nerdfest 2013".
Best New Gadget: Canon N Camera
Is the Canon N Series a gimmick? Yes. Will this thing make it to critical mass enough to be a major player in Canon's line up? Probably not. Is it even a good point-and-shoot? Remains to be seen. I don't really think Canon ever intended this to be a major player, it actually just needs to be looked at like a concept car. Canon has taken the form factor of what we are used to with a photo camera and turned it upside down to give us a look into how their cameras will start to look in the future. This is a concept camera to test the waters of how ready photographers are for change, and how functional they can be with only using a touch screen as the interface for the camera. So, while I don't expect to ever use this camera, I do expect to see more design like this implemented into their point-and-shoot lines, as well as slowly moving all the way up to the pro photo and video cameras, which I, for one, am excited about.
Best New Brand: Marley
When you walk around these conferences, you're running on information over load, and you see so many different gadgets that it really takes a lot for something to catch your eye and make you stop and look at their product. The House Of Marley is a new accessory brand that really grasped our attention. Their products seem nice and simple, and also implement some natural elements which is a really nice distinguishing factor from the overly plastic and complex designs of most consumer electrics. Another thing that we liked was their brand and mark. This seems to be a solid brand who actually cares about their aesthetic on all levels. Looking forward to see what else they put out in the future.
Most Surprising Up and Comer: Sony Full Frame Series
I know it's kind of weird to call a massive brand like Sony an up-and-comer, but we got a full run down of the Sony a99, the NEX-VG900, and the FS700, and we were very impressed. Sony is taking aim at Canon right now and pulling the trigger on the monopoly that Canon has had in the DSLR videography world. The a99 and the VG900 are the most impressive of the bunch, both packing full sensors and really robust audio inputs and internal mics. Not only that, but their partnership with Zeiss gives a really nice human feel to their sometimes very digital looking sensors. We are really looking forward to seeing where Sony takes these lines and how the competition will respond to Sony pushing the boundaries of that DSLR's can do.
Best Booth of CES: Audi
Audi basically created the sickest light box I have ever seen and put their vehicles in it. So simple, but so effective. We will let the images speak for themselves.
Several people we talked to mentioned our Gallagher video that we created a couple months ago, and told us that he was actually at the conference. So, Nick hit up our old buddy, and we met up with him at his booth. Keep in mind this wasn't really his booth, he literally found an empty booth and set up shop pitching amazing Gallagher ideas to whoever wanted to listen. We walked by and he riffed on 3 patents, a reality show idea, 2 songs, and a commercial idea in about 5 min. Then someone asked for a photo and, that was it, he was out. It was similar to Alice In Wonderland meeting up with the Mad Hatter's tea party, but man it was good to see the old shit. He hasn't changed a bit.
Worst Camera: Fuji x20
Sorry, Fuji, but after spending 2 hours in Canon and Sony, all I have to say is that it's really disappointing to see the lack of attention to detail that this new camera provides. The " viewfinder" is pointless, everything feels like plastic, and it just seems like a really poor attempt to jump on the bandwagon Leica has created. Sorry to give this such a harsh rating, but I really wanted this to be good and it just wasn't. Bobby Sattler: Do not buy this camera. Fuji X20
The most surprising thing about CES was the insane amount of iPhone and iPad case companies that there were. Everyone knows the major players, but there were easily 100 different case companies showing their goods. Element case stood out the most, though, in a sea off cheap plastic molded into cheeky designs. The Ronin is elegant, uses natural materials, and deliveres solid protection. What's not to like? Yes, these are a bit of a pain to put on your phone, but they really do an excellent job of protecting your phone from drops and scratches. What I also like about this is that, unlike some of their other designs that are very complex and give a slight military hat tip, this design is cleaner and more luxurious.
Best Fiction Sighting of CES: The Washington Post
Jae C Hong from the Associated Press caught us watching this 3D presentation by LG.
All in all, CES was really fun compared to some of the other conferences we have been to. It was a really nice mix of the ever blurring line of pro and consumer electronics, and around every corner there was something new that we hadn't seen before. Looking forward to doing this again, and who knows, maybe we will do full coverage of the event next year, and have Gallagher be the host!